DEAR ABBY: I'm a high school student who has the amazing opportunity to travel to Spain for a school year as a foreign exchange student. I know I am very lucky to have this opportunity to travel, but I am scared about the people there.
I am a Mormon, so I will have to uphold my standards alone in a non-Mormon environment. I have never been away from home for this long, and that's hard enough as it is. I guess I just need some advice on how to be strong when I'm there. -- ALONE IN SPAIN
DEAR ALONE: I agree that you are being given an amazing opportunity to grow and learn. If you haven't spoken about this with your adviser, please do so. I assume you will be living with a host family. When you get there, consider discussing your concerns with the parents. I am sure you will be encouraged to stick to your standards and beliefs, and be respected for doing so if you remember to also respect others who may not think exactly the way you do.
DEAR ABBY: My niece had a baby a year after graduating from high school and is now raising her daughter as a single mom. After the first year, I told her that if there was anything she needed to let me know, but that I would rather contribute to a college fund for her daughter than send her toys for gift-giving holidays.
My niece was thrilled, so I set up a college savings account for her daughter and contribute to it monthly in lieu of birthday and Christmas gifts for them. However, when those gift-giving occasions come, I worry they may feel slighted when presents arrive from me for others. My niece and I never mentioned it to other family members.
Would it be appropriate for me to send some kind of reminder occasionally so they know the account is there and growing? -- CONTRIBUTING TO HER FUTURE
DEAR CONTRIBUTING: Yes, it's appropriate. You should also send your niece a summary at the end of each year so she can see the progress. In addition, you might consider sending the child an inexpensive small gift or card so she'll have something to open.
DEAR ABBY: In response to the letter from "David in Kentucky" (Nov. 2), the 50-year-old single man who was unsure what to do with his late mother's engagement ring, I disagree with your answer. Yes, gems are meant to be enjoyed, and the ring is doing no one any good in a drawer, but he should not sell it.
I think David should have a man's ring made for himself with it, so he can have a memento of what his dad gave his mom to treasure many years ago. I wear my mom's and grandmother's rings every day on my right hand, and remember them often with joy. -- DEVOTED FAN IN FLORIDA
DEAR DEVOTED FAN: Your suggestion was the No. 1 comment I received from readers. Some said if David was eventually to meet the woman he wanted to marry, the stone could be removed again and reset into a lady's ring.
Another good idea several readers offered is to donate the ring in his mother's memory to a charity auction of a cause she supported.